The Dead Sea lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, fed by the waters of the River Jordan and bordered in the east by Jordan, in the west by Israel and the West Bank. It lies well below sea level at c.-430 metres and is incredibly salty, with salinity at about 34% which makes its shores very stark but also makes ‘swimming’ more of a float than a swim (but watch out for the sand flies). The shores have a crinkly sort of edge with the lack of vegetation making erosion occur in unusual ways, where the slopes are prone to subsidence. The combination of the lack of altitude and the high temperatures mean that there is no outflow from the lake itself as the evaporation outpaces the chance – apparently the word to describe this is ‘endorheic’!
Over the past few decades there has been a rapid escalation in the use of the salt and muds in health and beauty products and this as well as the atmospheric factors has led to a shrinking of the surface area of the Dead Sea that has meant a series of pipeline proposals to help keep it topped up.
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